“I just don’t know what I want to do in life?”
How many times have you heard that question being asked?
Perhaps you have said it yourself?
I certainly have.
I believe now after all these years, it’s the wrong question you need to ask yourself.
I will get to that in a moment, but first, I recall a conversation I had years ago with my sister.
I am not sure how it came about, but it was along the lines of wouldn’t it be great if suddenly a bolt of lightning hit us (metaphorically of course) that allowed us to be transformed in understanding why and what we are here for and it somehow empowered us to pursue that?
Like in John Travolta’s movie “Phenomenon”. Did you see it?
I won’t spoil it for you as you should see it for yourself, but in the film, he, as George Malley, becomes very clear as to who he is. That’s what I am talking about!
Being clear, being focused.
However possibly I am asking for too much. This instant gratification, if you call it that, only happens in the movies doesn’t it – or maybe not…
Perhaps it can happen to anyone at any time, but why it seems so hard is that we are either asleep or are looking in the wrong direction from where we should be.
As I said, asking ourselves the wrong questions.
In 1993 (yes if you were born in that year you would be 22 years old today with a life a head of you) by pure chance and random events, I came across a book that would have unforeseen future ramifications for me.
It was not my book, but I asked to borrow it as I was heading overseas. My friend Janet said “get your own” as she was still reading it. So with only a day before my flight’s departure, I managed to buy a copy.
That book captivated me.
Not only was I learning new ways to see the world, it started to challenge some of my perceived views about who I was and what I was capable of doing in my life.
However, it was the author’s words in the introduction of the book that resonated most with me…
We all have dreams… We all want to believe deep down in our souls that we have a special gift, that we can make a difference, that we can touch others in a special way, and that we can make the world a better place
While my trip through France, Switzerland, Germany and Poland was to see new places as my train journeyed across West and the newly opened East Europe (since the recent fall of the Berlin Wall), this book instead, had me travelling internally in my mind as I thought about the possibilities of my life in front of me – all at the “young” age of 31!
When I returned back home to Sydney, I caught up with my friend Janet and told her about how much of an impact this book had on me. She then told me that the author of the book would be in Sydney the next week running a seminar.
I had to be there and somehow, I managed to get a ticket, despite the late notice.
Well of course many of you would have put it together by now, the author was Tony Robins and his book was Awaken The Giant Within.
I attended his seminar and I went on to attend his advanced programs over the next two years. The experience certainly shaped me, but was it really the thunderbolt that I was seeking?
You see for me, I went back to sleep. I became comfortable. I had a good job. Life was OK. I stopped asking the important questions that I should have kept doing.
However, I continued to read and learn, particular biographies – Ghandi, Victor Frankl, Nelson Mandela, Lech Wałęsa, Aung San Suu Kyi and even just recently, Malala Yousafzai. All of their stories incredibly inspirational.
At the same time, life presented ups and downs, but these stories gave me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep searching, to keep stepping up.
The stories gave me new perspectives and new beliefs in what is possible for the human condition, despite the deepest depths we can all fall too.
Several years ago I even had the most humbling experience to visit Robin Island off Cape Town and stand in the same cell that Mandela had been kept in for all those years – just look at what he overcame!
So now after 22 years since reading Tony Robins’ book, I have “woken up” again. But this time it is different.
You see I was asking myself the wrong questions.
It’s not about “what I want to do in life”.
It has to be “how can I contribute and make a difference” – the very same words that Tony wrote which hooked me in the first place all those years ago – it is just that I did not really understand it then!
It is not about taking, it is about giving.
In my businesses today, it is about the value I can give and the role of my businesses play in all this that drives me. This is my purpose and life’s work now.
Being clear, being focused.
So do you need to take 22 years like me as well?
Well I can’t answer that. Maybe you need more time. It’s up to you.
My only wish for you, is for you to not sell out on yourself.
Maintain a higher expectation on you, than anyone would expect of you – a higher standard and then, hold yourself to account.
While you may never know whether long after you are gone, you are remembered because that does not matter. What is important is whether today, right now you are making a difference, a contribution and working towards making the world a better place.
Then, it is my belief you will find yourself in that place as I find myself today.
I wish you well in this journey!